[Pounds Sterling]11m `Wasted' on Police Sex Cases; `MOST WOMEN OFFICERS ONLY WANT AN APOLOGY'

Article excerpt

Byline: ALISON GORDON

MORE than [pounds sterling]11 million of taxpayers' money

has been spent in five years compensating policewomen for harassment and discrimination.

Experts blame the staggering waste of vital resources on police chiefs' failure to act quickly and effectively when complaints are first lodged.

Most officers do not want costly industrial tribunals or compensation, according to police grievance specialist Tina Martin. The majority of the 25 policewomen who went to tribunals in the last five years were just seeking an apology and the problem to end.

Last month Libby Ashurst of the North Yorkshire force was awarded a [pounds sterling]1 million package after enduring five years of sexual harassment.

Mrs Martin, chairman of the British Association of Women Police, said yesterday that the tribunal could have been avoided if her complaint had been dealt with effectively.

Similarly, Inspector Dena Fleming, fighting a sexual discrimination battle at a Nottingham tribunal, wanted her case dealt with internally.

That case has already cost [pounds sterling]500,000 and is set to exceed [pounds sterling]1 million - with Simeon Maskery QC representing Lincolnshire police for an estimated [pounds sterling]1,000 a day. …